Democrats go un-democratic when they lose

Via Insty:

HISTORY: Flashback: Democrats go un-democratic when they lose, and then they lose some more. “The mess in Wisconsin has happened before. In 2003, faced with a new Republican majority intent on redrawing an electoral map that preserved power for Democrats that the voters no longer gave them, the Texas Democrats fled the state. And in 2009, rather than allow a vote on an election security bill that they didn’t want, the Texas Democrats brought the state legislature to a halt — killing the voter ID bill and everything on the calendar that followed it. . . . So the Democrats are trying to bring both houses of the legislature to a full halt to kill the union bill. It may work, at least temporarily, just by running out the clock. But if what has happened in Texas is any guide, it will be a pyrrhic victory. Democrats in Texas have won very little since the 2003 run to the Red River. And after they filibustered the voter ID bill in 2009, which a heavy majority of the voters supported, they suffered an unholy beating in 2010. The Republicans now have a super majority in the House, and the man who led the filibuster, state Rep. Jim Dunnam, was defeated. He didn’t lose just because of that filibuster, but having that on his record certainly didn’t help him.”

Posted at 10:17 pm by Glenn Reynolds

See also handing out fake doctor’s notes at rally. (more here). Law professor and repentant 0bama voter Ann Althouse has videoblogged up a storm: go to her blog and keep scrolling.

And a little history lesson (via Ann Althouse): the Wisconsin Gov. finds himself in the august company of that [sarc] raaaaacist christofascist teabagging reichwinger [/sarc] Franklin Delano Roosevelt!

“The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, “I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place” in the public sector. “A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government.”

Related: Ed Driscoll on “financial catastrophe denialists”. And the WI Deemocrats who fled to Chicago to avoid a quorum for a vote they would lose are now called “fleebaggers”. Heh.

Pampered populists

Victor Davis Hanson (via Insty): “It’s surreal to see President Obama play the class-warfare card against the Republicans while on his way to vacation on the tony Maine coast, and even more interesting to note that now gone are the days when the media used to caricature Bush I (“Poppy”) for boating in the summer off the preppie-sounding Kennebunkport. The truth is that the real big money and the lifestyles that go with it are now firmly liberal Democratic. . . . The more the polo-shirted Obama seems obsessed with golf, and the more he seems to prefer the landscape of the elite (who navigate the Ivy League, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Upper East Side, Cambridge, etc.), the more we wonder whom exactly he’s railing about.”

On a related note, also at Insty, a long list of reader responses to the dynamite  essay about “America’s Ruling Class” I summarized here.

Small-government Democrats? Wishful thinking

Prof. Stephen Bainbridge quotes one  Will Wilkinson, who together with Brink Lindsey, author of “Against the dead hand”) is trying to sell Democrats on the idea that “more market-oriented policies do a better job of achieving liberal goals than do the more heavily centralized, technocratic policies favored by current Democratic opinion elites.” He then comments:

This sort of naivety is so cute.The philosophy of political parties is, at best, only partially a product of ideology and understandings of the good. As Amitai Etzioni explained in Capital corruption: the new attack on American democracy, strong political parties historically tended to moderate interest groups. As political parties become weaker, however, interest groups become stronger. Since the 1960s, political parties in the United States have become weaker and weaker.

Today, the Democratic Party is dominated by a handful of interest groups. At or very near the top of the list are public sector unions, as Daniel Henninger recently observed:

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy planted the seeds that grew the modern Democratic Party. That year, JFK signed executive order 10988 allowing the unionization of the federal work force. This changed everything in the American political system. Kennedy’s order swung open the door for the inexorable rise of a unionized public work force in many states and cities.

This in turn led to the fantastic growth in membership of the public employee unions—The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the teachers’ National Education Association.

They broke the public’s bank. More than that, they entrenched a system of taking money from members’ dues and spending it on political campaigns. Over time, this transformed the Democratic Party into a public-sector dependency. …

There’s no way out for these Democrats. They made a Faustian bargain 40 years ago with the public unions.

Need evidence? Over the last 20 years, public sector unions have donated over $186 million to political parties. Over 90% went to the Democrats.

The NY Times recently took note of the phenomenon, reporting that:

For the first time in American history, a majority of union members are government workers rather than private-sector employees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday.

Fred Siegel, a visiting professor of history at St. Francis College in Brooklyn and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research organization, said, “There were enormous political ramifications” to the fact that public-sector workers are now the majority in organized labor.

“At the same time the country is being squeezed, public-sector unions are a rising political force in the Democratic Party,” he said. “They depend on extra money for the public sector, and that puts the Democrats in a difficult position. In four big states — New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California — the public-sector unions have largely been untouched by the economic downturn. In those states, you have an impeding clash between the public-sector unions and the public at large.”

The math is simple. Public sector unions love big government. The Democrats need public union support. Hence, as long as the Democrats remain in thrall to the public sector unions (and, for that matter, lawyers), they will be the party of big government. It’s a matter of simple rational actor political economics.

So if you want me to take seriously the proposition that “an organized effort to articulate a moderate libertarian philosophy in terms attractive to liberals” will do squat, explain to me how it changes the interest group dynamics. Otherwise, it’s just wishful thinking.